Posts Tagged ‘Springboard’

Andrew Jackson ate my Homework: a Racial Farce

October 21st, 2011 No comments

Staged Reading at CPT

Had the staged reading of my play last night at CPT. It went very well and I truly appreciate the thought and artistry that Cassie Neumann put into the directing of the piece as she added the appropriate level of energy and “over-the-top”-ness to the piece.

Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson

Audience Feedback

There was an audience feedback session afterwards during which some things of interest were stated. I found it interesting that some people did not get the intentionally reflexive nature of the commentary on dominant cultural attitudes represented by certain “white” characters shooting off their mouths. I know that’s a rather convoluted thought, but it’s a long way of saying: “when a man says something stupid, it’s often more a reflection of him than the person/people he’s talking about”–hence the farce.

Writing it

The notion of the racial element appeared as an undercurrent in the piece, which is to say that I didn’t write it intentionally as a piece on race. So, when it came time for several people to point out that I only “picked” on certain races–or gender orientations–this is to say that I didn’t intend to pick on any race/orientation when I wrote it. As well, after I read and edited it several times, I resisted the temptation to “balance it” as I felt that I would be forcing the piece to be about race, which wasn’t my intent, and further, that by “balancing it” I would be making it fake. Another comment that I found interesting is that given the abrasive nature of the topics and language throughout, that at a certain point one audience member, or several, simply became numb to it. That they were de-sensitized, which is fascinating in and of itself.


Raymond offered some interesting thoughts in the post, post discussion, including that I increase the number of bus scenes and make the play about bus scenes, which I might do. I might actually make more than one play out of it, as I also like the mix of genres when the historical characters and musical pieces are mixed in–which makes it more farcical to my mind. I’ll have to go back and check my Brecht to see how to design the piece, wholly, to be more effective in it’s direction toward audience response and to examine or evolve a through-line.


The actors were great and I truly appreciate the time each put into the play as well, again, as Cassie, who did marvelously for a piece that received three rehearsals and then hit the stage.

Standardized Child TM

October 15th, 2011 No comments

Springboard a staged reading festival


Standardized Child in Springboard

Went and saw Claire Robinson May’s new play on Thursday night at Springboard. It is worth taking a look at.


Springboard is CPT’s new festival of staged readings so you need to be aware that these productions are staged readings and not full productions. That being said, CPT is taking an new approach to staged readings and not allowing the boring old “music stand” approach to be the dominant factor. In fact, the directors and actors are encouraged to attempt to get as much into the “full boll” of a real production as possible.

That being said, all should remain aware that staged readings are a public presentation of unfinished work and that there is a lot of fat still on the meat. Claire’s play is no exception. There is a lot going on in this: a lot of good stuff that needs to be focused.

The story in short is about a couple that cannot conceive. So they go to a newly created company that offers robot children and adopt. The “standardized children” are pre-programmed to be successful in standardized ways–good at standardized tests, rote learning, core and fundamental sports and painting techniques, etc. However, they lack the capacity for “creative” thought: they can do as they are programmed, but cannot be spontaneous or operate outside of the bounds of their installed software set.

That being the premise of the play, the play itself is really about some tough themes, themes that were discussed quite passionately. One group of thoughts was that the play is about control. That raising children is about controlling children–after all, children are projections of ourselves into the world and parents attempt to shape their children to be what they want them to be. Society attempts to control children (and parents) and to have them raised according to precepts that are important to society. In discussion, Raymond Bobgan raised the point that public education in the US was never about educating children so much as it was about creating a workforce for industry–and the approaches to education reflect that attitude: standardized, rote, uniform, etc. Another theme that I picked up on is that of connection–or attempts to connect. Throughout the parents who have adopted the robot child attempt to connect with the child in ways that the child is not capable of. In many ways the parents end up projecting their emotional desires onto the child. Additionally, the parents themselves have some work to do in how they relate to each other, a fact that becomes painfully obvious as the play moves forward.

Claire does a wonderful job of keeping the pace of the play moving forward and she has a wicked sense of humor that makes the play as funny as it is serious.

Go tonight

If you’re looking for something to do tonight, get over to CPT and check out Standardized Child, it starts at 7:00 in the James Levin Theatre.

I also have to give a shout out to Debbie Keppler who does a great job as the confused and emotionally distraught mother. Debbie was my lead, Asa, in Patterns at CPT in March.

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